25 Oct

Panthera’s Jaguar Conservation Work in Colombia Mentioned on The New York Times’ Dot Earth Blog


The development of Colombia’s ‘llanos’ and Panthera’s jaguar conservation work in Colombia were recently mentioned in The New York Times' Dot Earth blog “postcard,” written by Mongabay.com founder, Rhett Butler, whose website tracks issues impacting conservation of forests and the world’s biodiversity.

Read this excerpt from Butler’s “postcard”:

“I’m writing from Casanare in eastern Colombia. The region is known for the llanos, an area of tropical savanna that could be described as a cross between two ecosystems in South America: the flooded grasslands of Pantanal and the prairie-like Cerrado. The region is extremely rich with wildlife. A lot of animals found in the Amazon live here, except they are out in the open and therefore easier to see.

Dr. Esteban Payan, Panthera’s Northern South America Jaguar Corridor Coordinator, surveys Colombia’s llanos for jaguars and other wildlife in July, 2011.

I’ve been staying on a cattle ranch called Hato la Aurora where the owners have gone to great efforts to accommodate both livestock and wildlife. The efforts have paid off — a few days ago I was in an area of flooded pasture where I could see at least 1,000 capybara, the world’s largest rodent. There are more than 400 species of birds on the ranch and five species of wildcat have been photographed here (Panthera, WWF, and other conservation groups have conducted research here due to the accessibility of the site and abundance of cats).

There seem to be some strong benefits from preserving gallery forest along waterways, restricting hunting, and allowing forest to regenerate. Instead of killing livestock, big cats hunt the plentiful capybara, iguanas, birds, and other wildlife — the family that runs Hato la Aurora says it loses less than 20 head (cattle, goats, sheep) a year to predation. The family is now looking to allow bird watchers and ecotourists to stay on their ranch.

But while this ranch seems idyllic from a wildlife perspective, it is increasingly an island: the llanos are well suited for large-scale industrial agriculture and oil and gas development. Accordingly, the region is being rapidly developed–land prices are up 20-fold in some areas over the past 20 years…”

Read the full “postcard” to hear what Butler has to say about the ownership and development of Colombia’s llanos, and the impact of this growth on the country’s biodiversity and economy.

Learn more about Panthera’s conservation work in Colombia, including Panthera’s partnership with Colombia’s Ministry of Environment, Housing, and Territorial Development for the Jaguar Corridor Initiative – a Panthera jaguar conservation project that seeks to connect and protect jaguar populations ranging from Argentina to Mexico to ensure their genetic diversity and future survival.

Read more Mongabay articles featuring Panthera’s conservation work:

Illuminating Africa's most obscure cat

One of world's rarest cats caught on video for the first time

Leopards losing out to bushmeat hunters in competition for prey

How to Save the Tiger - Commentary by Luke Hunter, special to mongabay.com

‘My Pantanal’: short film about jaguars and a young cowboy in Brazil (video)

Conservationists oppose snow leopard hunt for 'science'

Fearful Symmetry—Man Made, an interview with John Vaillant, author of The Tiger

American cougars on the decline: 'We’re running against the clock,' says big cat expert

Myanmar creates world's largest tiger reserve, aiding many endangered Southeast Asian species